Traditionally, the Sacrament of Confirmation is the second of the
sacraments of initiation, and the Eastern Church continues to confirm
(or chrismate) infants immediately after Baptism. Even in the West,
where Confirmation is routinely delayed until a person's teen years,
several years after his First Communion, the Church has stressed the
original order of the sacraments (most recently in Pope Benedict XVI's
apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis).---
Confirmation is the Sacrament in which baptized persons receive a
special grace which strengthens them for the profession of the Christian
faith. The young men and women who receive Confirmation obtain a
special grace to profess the faith. On their souls are imprinted an
indelible character, and so Confirmation can only be received once.
When preparing for this Sacrament, the young person typically selects
the name of a favorite saint for his Confirmation name.
By Confirmation, the young people continue their path of Christian
initiation. They are enriched with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and are more
closely linked to the Catholic Church. They are made strong soldiers of
Christ, and so they are more firmly obliged by word and deed to be
faithful witnesses of Christ, spreading and defending the Catholic faith.
The sacrament of Confirmation is given to those who know their faith.
Thus, there is an extensive preparation and formation program for
candidates at SS & CC that takes about 9 months. The student must
have 2 prior years of PSR. If it is deemed that a candidate is simply not
ready for confirmation, he/she will be asked to delay the reception of the
sacrament. The sponsor for the candidate must be a confirmed
Catholic, and must actively practice his/her faith and be willing to testify
that the candidate is ready and willing to do the same. Confirmation is
administered every 3 years. Adults, or anyone over the age of 7, must
follow RCIA directives.
In the Latin Rite, Confirmation is usually conferred by the Bishop, who
lays his hands on the recipients, making the sign of the Cross with
chrism on their foreheads, while he says: “Be sealed with the gift of the
Holy Spirit” (Ordinary Form) or “I sign thee with the sign of the cross
and confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Extraordinary Form). It is called
Confirmation because it confirms and strengthens baptismal grace, and
its effect is a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit.